Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spicy Chicken Gumbo

Gumbo is a soup or Stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th Century. It is made from a strong flavored stock with either meat or shellfish, a thickener, onion, celery and bell pepper. The name, Gumbo is derived from  two different sources. The Bantu (African) word for okra is Kingambo and the Choctaw (Native American) word for File (Fee-lay) (thickening powder). Gumbo is categorized by the type of thickener used, therefore okra is the African method of thickening, File powder is the Choctaw method and also, there is roux (a mixture of butter and flour) which is the French influence in Louisiana cuisine I have researched many recipes as I usually do to see how I can use them for my healthier version. Most of the modern recipes for Gumbo calls for andouille sausage. Classic andouille sausage is made from pork chitterlings (intestine of a pig) and tripe (the stomach of a cow). The gourmet Chefs call for 5 pounds of pork and 2 pounds of pork fat for their Gumbo recipes.I have changed my eating habits so much and I really do think you are what you eat. I cannot fathom eating Andouille Sausage, but if I ever make it to Louisiana, I surely will eat a "Classic Gumbo". I just know better now and to have just a small portion at best..and perhaps ask the chef what the ingredients are. I tried a soy chorizo a few months ago and it was so good (and I know most people would say yuck to this), it immediately came to mind for this Gumbo recipe. It is made from: textured soy protein, water, soy oil, distilled vinegar, salt, spices, red pepper and garlic, a 3oz serving has 140 calories, 10 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 700mg sodium, 8g carbs, 9g protein, 4g fiber. *It's high in fat (in my standards) and sodium, so use sparingly.* Vegans and Vegetarians, just leave out the chicken and add a little more Chorizo and you are set. I am looking at a photo of Shrimp Gumbo right now and that looks amazing. I would use jumbo shrimp for the recipe.I have decided to use okra since I found some fresh and will also use the roux method of thickening this Gumbo.
8-10 Servings
3 T Extra virgin Olive oil, divided
2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Diced
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1 Tsp. Sage, Crumbled
1/2 Tsp Thyme, Crumbled
1 Tsp Marjoram Crumbled
1 Pound Soy Chorizo, remove casing and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Quart Low Sodium (Strong) Chicken or Vegetable Stock 
4 Ribs Celery, Chopped
2 Green Bell Peppers, Diced
 1 Large Onion, Chopped
2 Bay Leaves
 2 T Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3 Cups Chopped Fresh Okra
2 Pounds Peeled and Seeded Roma Tomatoes, Chopped
3 T Fresh Chopped Thyme
8 Scallions, sliced thin on an angle
2 1/2 Cups Brown Rice, Cooked
Fresh Parsley, Coarsely Chopped
Preheat large Dutch Oven (heavy bottomed pot)over medium high heat. Brown the chicken with 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper and spices. Add the soy chorizo to the chicken mixture and brown for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and drain. In the same pan, add 1T olive oil and heat. Add celery, pepper, onions and bay leaves. Season with salt (optional), pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes to soften vegetables. Add Flour and cook for 2 minutes. slowly stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add okra, chicken and chorizo to the boiling broth. Then stir in tomatoes and 1/2 of the fresh thyme. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. simmer for 5 minutes. Scoop brown rice into bowls and serve with chopped thyme and scallions to garnish.

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